Breathing retraining: a three-year follow-up study of treatment for hyperventilation syndrome and associated functional cardiac symptoms

Biofeedback Self Regul. 1996 Jun;21(2):191-8. doi: 10.1007/BF02284695.


This study was designed to evaluate the long-term effects of paced diaphragmatic breathing on subjects who reported functional cardiac symptoms and who also demonstrated associated signs of hyperventilation syndrome. Subjects were a representative sample composed of 10 out of the original 41 subjects who had participated three years previously in a study designed to evaluate the short-term effects of breathing retraining on functional cardiac symptoms and respiratory parameters (respiratory rate and end-tidal carbon dioxide). The results of this follow-up study indicate that breathing retraining had lasting effects on both respiratory parameters measured. Subjects evidenced significantly higher end-tidal carbon dioxide levels and lower respiratory rates when compared to pretreatment levels measured three years earlier. Subjects also continued to report a decrease in the frequency of functional cardiac symptoms when compared to pretreatment levels. We conclude that breathing retraining has lasting effects on respiratory physiology and is highly correlated with a reduction in reported functional cardiac symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperventilation / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Respiration / physiology*